Staff, faculty evaluated for accreditation process

By Ivan Cazares

The second draft for East Los Angeles College’s Self Evaluation summary is due Monday as part of the ongoing Accreditation process, and will be reviewed during the summer.

One hundred and ten faculty and staff members have completed an online workshop to help ELAC with its accreditation process. The workshop explained the basic accreditation process. Every seven years the schools in Los Angeles Community College District go through an accreditation process.

ELAC did not meet accreditation requirements in 2009, but gained full accreditation in 2010.

“There are different levels of sanctions. ELAC was given a warning,” Faculty Accreditation Chair Barbara A. Dunsheath said.

ELAC was placed on the lowest level of sanction and had to address six issues before being accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

ELAC had to submit a mission statement to be approved by the LACCD Board of Trustees, develop a written decision making process, augment student support services if they needed to be and evaluate them regularly.

“We are playing catch up on SLOs,” Dunsheath said. Student learning outcomes are a challenge, because they are “hard to measure.”

“The goal is to continually improve. We are trying get faculty to think more about what students are taking away from class,” Dunsheath said.

Many faculty members were hired based on their understanding of the subject they teach and don’t have SLO training.

Dunsheath said some faculty members are concerned with academic freedom and don’t like an outside entity telling them what to do.

A new quality focus essay is being put together to help meet standards. There will be three action projects to be worked on for the next  years and will be turned in on May 18 along with the self-evaluation summary. ELAC’s Governance Policy Handbook is currently being revised.

Anyone with ideas, or believe a certain program, committee, or project should be highlighted in the self evaluation is encouraged to contact Public Information Officer Alejandro Guzman.

Accreditation in the United States has been conducted by private non-profit agencies for more than 100 years.

The federal government uses accreditation to assure the quality of institutions and programs it provides federal funds for.

Most state governments will initially license programs and institutions without accreditation, but then require accreditation to make state funds available.

The process is broken down into three steps, a self study in which the institution, or program writes a summary outlining performance according to accreditation standards, a peer review in which a team of faculty members and administrators edit the summary and a site visit from an accrediting organization.

If satisfied, the accrediting agencies then grants the institution or program accreditation, or preaccreditation  status and lists it in an official publication with similar institutions and programs.

Institutions and programs are periodically monitored and revaluated to make sure that they continues to meet  accreditation standards.

The accrediting agencies use commissions made up of faculty and administrators from several institution to affirm accreditation for new institutions and programs, as well as ongoing institution and programs.

These commissions may also deny an institution or program accreditation.

The accrediting agencies will then periodically monitor and evaluate the institution,or program.

These agencies are accountable for the quality of higher education in the U.S. and must be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Eighty recognized institutional and programmatic agencies operate in the U.S. Accreditation is not a governmental activity. However recognition is.

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